Ty is just one of those guys. One minute, he’s posting photos of his dog, or his fiancé on Instagram and the next, he’s in the middle of the Mojave Desert on his trusty Pugsley, doing what many would consider a really, really, really tough ride – except most people do this ride in a Jeep or an ATV. To say that he’s spontaneous isn’t entirely accurate however, because he always plans out what to bring, how to bring it and how he’ll use it. What happens once he’s there is a whole different story. One that only Ty can tell in his own words…
Mojave Road Guide
Words and photos by Ty Hathaway
I was introduced to the idea of the Mojave Road by my father who had ridden motorcycles the length of the road many times. He handed me his copy of “Mojave Road Guide” by Dennis G. Casebier, this particular copy was published in 1986. It is a rad hardback with awesome stories, cartoons, and maps of the entire Mojave Road that just makes you want to be there.
Then, I spoke with Brent at my old LBS and he mentioned wanting to ride the road on fat bikes, I thought it sounded like a great idea. We talked about doing it together a few times and as time went on I got more and more anxious to just go do it. I had time and I had a ride so I just decided to take advantage of that and go it alone when I had the chance.
My only motivation was to just do it and I wanted to go where I likely would not run into a soul for maybe a few days. I like challenges, I like pushing myself, I like going where I, or few people have ever been on a bike and well this was one of those times.
The morning of, my father drove me out to the West bank of the Colorado River which is the closest point to the Old Fort Mojave site that you can start at. I said my goodbyes to him after talking about where we would meet in the coming days on the other side of the Mojave Road.
Off I went, into the sand, rocks, cactus, and waterless route that would take me 2? 3? 4? days? The guide books say 2-3 days, in a jeep, so well I had no idea what it would take me really.
The route is only 140 miles and in my head that can be done in a day easy but in the desert, with 3 gallons of water, through sand and rocks? Who knows…
I rode, I hiked, I bonked, I recovered, I slept, I got beer and jerky from a Jeep family, and I slept some more. Day one was under my belt and it was a lot harder than I was expecting. Mostly because of the hiking a section that the Jeeps can’t go on.
I ended up off the trail and climbing a desert canyon, pushing my bike up rocks as tall as me. It was only a three mile section and it took me 1/3 of the day which crushed me mentally and physically. After that was over it was smooth sailing until it got dark. Then it got cold and I was ready to call it a day.
Day two started fresh and I was feeling good about getting the rest of the miles done by dark. Then came sand, a not so dry lake, a made-on-the-trail beer, more sand, and a rad canyon with trains. Add in two deep water crossings for good measure.
My father also was nice enough to leave me cold beers in the middle of the trail at one point. The day went fast and I made it to Fort Cady well after dark, but where was my father?
The road to get there by truck was closed, I had no cell service so I had no way of knowing that he wouldn’t be able to reach the pick-up spot. After waiting a while in the dark, super tired, I decided to back track the way he would be coming in. After roaming around in the dark chasing train lights that I thought was his truck we finally met up.
From there, we headed to Barstow, ate at the old Mexican food spot we used to eat at every year during the Barstow to Vegas dual sport ride then went home in the morning…
It may seem as though I have left out a lot of details, well you would be right. There is way too much on this route to try and tell any one person about let alone type it all into an “article” that would keep your interest. The history of the Mojave Road is immense and with that comes a lot of things to see when you travel it.
You come across old wagon tracks carved into rock, indian drawings, old fort ruins, the list goes on and on. I feel like this is one of those “you have to go and do it yourself” moments, be it by bike, truck, motorcycle, or even by foot. Maybe that is part of what motivates me to go out and do something like this, to hopefully motivate even one person to do the same, experience what I did.